SmartGauge technical description

SmartGauge represents a totally new approach to monitoring the state of charge of deep cycle lead acid batteries. The most common type of meter used for this purpose is known as an "amp hours counter". The idea of an "amp hours counter" is basically to add up the current going into a battery, add up the current coming out of the battery, subtract one from the other, and hopefully this will represent the state of charge of the batteries. Admittedly this is a highly simplified description of what they do but it is, in essence, how they work.

It is not often appreciated that this idea is fundamentally flawed as far as monitoring state of charge is concerned. It simply doesn't work. Ask anyone who has ever tried to use one of these meters for monitoring the state of charge of the batteries. For a full explanation of why click-here.

Let us say right at the start that SmartGauge is not a voltmeter. A voltmeter simply will not tell you the state of charge of a battery under dynamic usage. This isn't often appreciated.

SmartGauge operates on a completely different principle from the more usual amp hours counter. The final result is a battery state of charge meter that is much simpler to install, simpler to set up, simpler to understand and yet gives a meter that actually does a far better job than the usual type of battery monitor, the so called amp hours counter.

SmartGauge uses "computer models" of different types of lead acid, deep cycle, batteries. A "computer model" is a set of numerical values which attempt to represent the various parameters of a real world item. In this case a deep cycle, lead acid, battery. This model is then used by an "algorithm" in SmartGauge to calculate the

state of charge. An algorithm is basically nothing more than a series of calculations, but rather than just performing a fixed calculation on a fixed set of figures, the algorithm continually calculates results, and some of these results are fed back into future calculations giving an ever changing, and self correcting, result.

For the benefit of the unitiated or those with a suspicious mind "Computer modelling" is now a very widely understood technology. It is used extensively throughout every industry in existence and is well developed. There probably isn't a single technical field in existence that does not use computer modelling in one form or another. Indeed computer modelling was used to actually design and complete SmartGauge in the virtual world before a single wire or component was soldered. This is now very common in technical fields. The PC you are reading this on was probably designed and debugged entirely in the virtual world before a single sample was ever built. The processor inside your PC was certainly designed by computer modelling and simulation as they are now so complex that it is really is the only way of doing it. It would be physically impossible to design a modern day procesor without using computer modelling and simulation for the entire job.

There is nothing new or revolutionary about "computer modelling". What is new in SmartGauge is that the technology now exists to model a deep cycle lead acid battery in a tiny, ultra low power, package. Previously this was not possible.

Needless to say, the algorithm and battery models in SmartGauge are entirely unique to SmartGauge having been developed solely by SmartGauge Electronics over a 3 year period.

This is a vast over-simplification but it does serve the purpose of explaining the basic operation of SmartGauge. For instance, the "models" used in SmartGauge contain 408 different numerical values, representing the various different parameters of the battery types. The "algorithm" performs in the region of 1.2 million calculations every minute in order to display the state of charge.

The result is that SmartGauge cannot run out of synchronisation with the batteries and sucessfully manages to track the battery capacity as they age and lose capacity. These are the biggest problems with amp hours counters and the main reason they make such a poor job of tracking the state of scharge of the batteries.

Installation of SmartGauge will come as something of a shock to anyone who has ever installed an amp hours counter. SmartGauge requires 2 light duty cables to the batteries to monitor a single battery bank or 3 light duty cables if the voltage of a 2nd battery is to be monitored.

SmartGauge also incorporates an RJ11 socket for simple, plug in, connection to the SmartBank split charge system. It also incorporates complementary alarm outputs that can be programmed by the user to trigger on various alarm conditions.

SmartGauge is fully backwards compatible with all earlier versions of the SmartBank split charge system.


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Page last updated 02/04/2008.
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